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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 05-31-2016, 12:19 PM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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New headlights for 1996 528i

Looking at this netsite for some reasonable headlights, dont want to spend a fortune.
See that they have headlights with a servo motor for adjusting the height, but they also have headlights without servomotor, which one do I need?
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E39 528i Steptronic 1996, Comfort seats, Rear sunshade, Focal amplifier and front speakers, Oxford Green.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:33 PM
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GrannyApple GrannyApple is offline
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If your car came with auto adjusting headlights get the auto adjusting headlights. If your car came with manual adjusters the get the manual/non servo headlights.

Chances are if you have halogens and not xenon bulbs you have a manual adjusters.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:46 PM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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Car has the adjusting botton on the dash, dont think there is any auto control.
For this one the OE number match the BMW number from RealOEM so I guess that one should be okay.
http://www.recambioscoche.es/van-wezel-1278026.html
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:28 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Short answer:
My guess is if you get replacement lights without the servo motor you will lose the ability to use that manual switch to adjust the level of your lights. If you like that feature or are required to have it you may want to spend extra money for the lights with the servo motor.

Long Answer
I would think both the manual headlight level adjustment and the auto headlight level adjustment both use servos to actually move the light. The auto system lacks the switch that you have on your dash. Instead, it uses two sensors, one on the front suspension, and one on the rear suspension. The servo then adjusts the headlights based on input from those sensors. The manual system has two or three settings and you, the driver adjust the lights as you see fit. But I am thinking there is still a servomotor in the lights that actually moves the headlights.

I noticed your location says Spain so your car has some features that are very rare or were never available here in the USA on e39s. It sounds like you have the manual headlight level adjustment that was much more common in Europe. I am not sure the manual headlight level adjustment was ever available in the USA, and if it was it is extremely rare. Here in the USA all the facelift xenon headlights (2001-2003) had the auto leveling feature. I think the pre-facelift xenon may have had the auto leveling feature too, but I am not sure. The facelift halogen cars in the USA did not have an auto leveling feature. I donít think any USA e39s had the manual leveling feature, but perhaps someone with more knowledge can add additional information.

As I understand it the purpose of the headlight leveling system was to prevent oncoming cars from being blinded by your headlights. If you had a bunch of people in the backseat, or a trunk full of heavy items, the nose of the car would be pointing up slightly. It may have also been for hilly roads. I was under the impression that both the manual and auto leveling feature was for xenon headlights and not halogens, but I may be mistaken. And/or European features may be different. I am not sure if there is or was a requirement that you have to have this leveling feature in Spain or other parts of Europe, and if anyone is ever actually ticketed for it being broken or missing.

Here in the USA many people upgraded to OEM xenons from halogens and they just leave the headlight leveling function non-operational. The servo is still in the headlight itself, but it is just not connected to anything.

Attached are some pics of the backs of facelift e39 headlights. Not all of the notations in the pics are relevant (I used these for another post before), but it shows auto level servo motor on the xenon headlights (pic1) vs halogen light without the auto level servo motor(pic2).
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:09 AM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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Ok, looking and comparing pictures I think I have the servo motor anyway. Behind the connector lower right there is a wire going to some device, behind the molding on the back up in the middle, that holds a rod, as of now that is actually the only thing holding the headlights in place so they are pretty wobbly!
The vertical Aim Control, number 13 I dont seem to have though : http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=63_0301
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Last edited by 528iAut; 06-01-2016 at 12:23 AM.
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